Behind the scenes of the Lexus LF-LC shoot

This is a post that I had forgotten about until recently, but here it is as I promised in this post about a year ago. This is a bit of an insight of what happened behind the camera and in front of it as well. The studio at hand was a fantastic place with all the lighting gear that you can imagine. And to top things of even further, they had very tasty coffee as well. 🙂

Here are three edited pictures from that shoot, the rest of them further down is practically unedited pictures straight from camera.

But, it´s a secret place and if I told you where it is located I would have to kill you. 😉

As I said in the previous post it´s a big studio which uses constant light, and for me it´s a dream to shoot in a studio with this kind of light because it´s so easy when you have set everything up. I had help from a guy who had done this a few times before, I told him what I wanted and he knew exactly how to get there and adjusted on the fly for me. It was a pure pleasure for me.

You see the big white screen up in the roof? It is hanging in a big wired system that comes with a remote so you can tilt it, turn it, raise it, swivel it and what not. You get the picture. The car stands on a huge turntable, but no, it´s not scratchable like a Technics SL1200. It too comes with a remote, of course. The coffee machine didn’t have a remote though, but in some strange way we managed. 😉

There is a basic rule when it comes to light and light sources, the bigger and closer the light source is to the subject the softer the light will be. So to get this kind of flattering soft light you bounce the big lights either into the walls or the big screen hanging in the roof. You don’t aim these lights straight on to the car, unless you like really hard spotlights.

It’s the same deal with a softbox and the white fabric on them, it makes the light softer and more pleasing to the eye. The bigger the softbox, and the closer to the subject, the softer the light gets. There is a million ways to light a car, and each and everyone has their own personal taste and preferences, but I like this kind of light. It enhances the shapes and forms of the car. Imagine lighting this with flash, it would have taken a lot of time especially if you need to come home with at least twenty different, and good, frames.

So further down are some images of what it looked like with all the cables and big lights and whatnot. And the first one is me without my shoes, because you don’t wear your shoes in a studio like this. Every little thing that you drag in there is gonna be another little spot that you need to clone out which means more time in front of your screen. Why spend unnecessary time in post afterwards when you can fix it right there? In all studios like this they paint the floor now and again to keep it crispy white and spotless.

So what did I do in post then, and this might come as a surprise, I didn’t do that much when it comes to exposure and contrast and so on. The quality of the light is that good! I did small adjustments in camera raw which I applied to all the images and then I tweaked them a bit here and there depending on exposure and contrast. I gave them some clarity and sharpness as well. I also had to take out the turntable and the cables that was reflected in the car with the clone tool. But that’s all there is to it.

I shot everything on manual because I wanted complete control and I had the camera mounted on a tripod.
Why a tripod? Well, on a shoot like this you need the images to be razor-sharp.  My settings when it comes to Shutter speed was around 1/4 – 1-10/sec, the Aperture was in between F4 – F9 depending on what kind of DOF I wanted. And ISO was of course 100. There is no need to go higher on a shoot like this, you want to have as clean files as possible. The tripod is your trusty friend in situations like these.  I used a Canon 1Ds Mark3 with either the 50 1,4 or the 24-70 2,8. It would have been nice to do this shoot with the new Nikon D800, but unfortunately it wasn´t available at the time. Next time!

I usually have a UV-filter on my lenses when I´m out in the field, mostly for protecting the glass. In this controlled environment I took it off because I wanted to have as clean files as I could get. In a studio you generally don’t need protection for your glass.

Ok, that’s a lot of information. But there you have it, that’s what it takes technically to get shots like these. And when you know your gear and all the technical stuff it’s time to get creative and make the most of it!

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And hey, if you have any questions just ask!

/Patrik

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